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How to Cook Brats on the Stove

Learn how to cook brats on the stove with beer and onions. A simple, hearty and delicious way of cooking bratwurst.

brown sausages in a cast iron pan.

You don’t want to wait for good weather to be able to grill some brats? How about learning how to cook brats on the stove? A simple recipe for cooking bratwurst using just a few ingredients. And if you are at it, check out how you can cook brats in the oven as well.

overhead shot of a black pan with bratwurst in it.

What is a Bratwurst?

THE German sausage. You can buy them everywhere, from cheaper ones in the supermarket to really high-quality ones at the butchers.

There are two popular kinds of bratwurst in Germany, the fine and the coarse ones. Both sorts are delicious, but I suppose everyone has their favorite. I prefer the coarser sort, especially when I cook the brats on the stove top. But whenever I buy sausages for grilling I make sure to get both kinds, especially kids prefer the finer ones.

Bratwurst are the kind of sausage you can get at any public event, at any feast or party. Not only Oktoberfest, but anywhere. Stuffed in a bun, smeared with mustard or ketchup or sliced in a weird machine and smothered in curry sauce.

And although we can get them so easily anywhere we go, we still cook and eat them regularly at home. Everybody just loves a good bratwurst!

bratwurst cooked on the stove top in a pan.

What do you need?

Just 3 ingredients + a little oil, salt and pepper.

Bratwurst:

  • Buy good quality, preferably coarse brats. Better quality pays off, they really taste better, more spices, more flavor, less fatty.
  • My brats weighed about 75 g/ 2.7 oz each. A little more or less is fine. If they are much larger, you might want to prolong the cooking time.

Onions: one medium onion, about 150 g/ 5.3 oz.

Beer: about 250 ml/ 1 cup. If you don’t want to cook with beer (although the alcohol cooks off), you can cook the dish with chicken or beef broth instead. Or apple juice for a sweeter version.

raw sausages, sliced onion, beer and oil on a wooden board

Step for cooking bratwurst on the stove

  • Quarter the onion and slice the quarters.
  • Heat the oil in a large thick-bottomed pan, a cast-iron skillet would be perfect.
  • Sear the brats on medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. (1)
  • Flip using tongs and brown the other side for another 3 minutes. Searing adds a lot of flavor, so don’t skip this step.
  • Add the onions between the sausages and cook for about 2 minutes, until golden, stirring a few times. (2)
  • Flip the sausages again, add beer, cover, and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, flipping again halfway. The internal temperature should read 71 degrees Celsius/160 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, just cut one sausage in the middle, it’s easy to see if it’s cooked through. (Amazon affiliate link) (3)
  • Remove the bratwurst, add salt and pepper to taste, and reduce the sauce for about 2 minutes.
  • Return the sausages to the pan and turn them into the sauce. (4)
  • Serve immediately.
collage of four pictures showing how to cook sausages in a pan.

Tips

The beer will not make a lot of sauce, it’s main job is to keep the brats moist, preventing them from drying or catching to the pan. It also adds flavor.

Instead of beer, you could try some apple cider, either with alcohol or without. I like that for a change from time to time.

How to serve bratwurst?

Always with mustard. Otherwise, you can have them with bread, stuffed in a bread roll or hot dog bun or with fries, ketchup or mayonnaise.

They also go well with German Potato Salad or any kind of potato salad, with Noodle Salad, oven-baked potato wedges, and most other potato side dishes you can think of.

And sauerkraut. Sausages and sauerkraut are a match made in heaven. Some mashed potatoes on the side and you will feel like you are in Germany.

brats in a pan served with a bowl of mustard.

More sausages:

seven sausages in a cast iron pan with a fork.

How to Cook Brats on the Stove

Yield: 5
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Learn how to cook brats on the stove with beer and onions. A simple, hearty and delicious way of cooking bratwurst.

Ingredients

  • 10 small brats (about 75 g/ 2.7 oz each) (Note)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion (more or less 150 g/ 5.3 oz)
  • 250 ml/ 8.5 fl.oz/ 1 cup beer
  • fine sea salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. Quarter the onion and slice the quarters.
  2. Heat a large thick-bottomed pan (preferably cast-iron skillet). Add oil. Sear the brats on medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, flip using tongs and cook on the other side for another 3 minutes.
  3. Add the onions between the sausages and cook for about 2 minutes, until golden, stirring a few times.
  4. Flip the sausages again, add beer, cover, and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, flipping again halfway. The internal temperature should read 71 degrees Celsius/160 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don't have a meat thermometer, just cut one sausage in the middle, it's easy to see if it's cooked through.
  5. Remove the brats, add salt and pepper to taste, and reduce the sauce for about 2 minutes. Return the sausages to the pan and turn them into the sauce.
  6. Serve immediately.

Notes

If your brats are larger is fine, just increase the cooking time slightly and check if they are done by cutting one in the middle.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 2 brats
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 554Total Fat: 47gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 1390mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 21g

Nutritional information is not always accurate.

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